We have all seen the barrage of insane reactions from people about the Coronavirus, whether it’s the person wearing a pair of rubber gloves all day (wouldn’t they be better off simply washing their hands frequently?) or the shopper at Walmart wearing their cold-war surplus gas mask. Maybe you’ve been scolded on Facebook and told that you “hate old people” after doing something that someone else thinks is non-essential. And heaven forbid that you should dare to cough somewhere in public! Certainly fear is way more contagious than the virus ever could be.
Spirit of Fear?
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul exhorts his young disciple to walk forward in faith, not fear, into the destiny God has for him:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
At Journey Quest, this scripture is often spoken into a student struggling through a fear of heights as they start rappelling, or around the campfire as we confront the crippling fears of failure and rejection. Fact is that fears can cripple us because we start to believe their lies:
Lie: “The rope is going to break and I’m going to fall.” Truth: the rope holds over 6,000 pounds. It will hold you!
Lie: “I’m going to fall out of the raft and drown!” Truth: you are wearing a high-float PFD, and your guide has taught you you what to do if you fall out. Listen to your guide!
Lie: “If I tell someone about my addiction they won’t love me.” Truth: you’re like a mime wearing a mask, pretending to be someone other than yourself. Your mask is the only thing that can receive love from others, not you. If you take off your mask and become real with others, they can love you for who you are!
Lie: “There is no way that God could love me after what I’ve done.” Truth: He loves you more than you could ever imagine. He knew you before He created the World and knew everything you would ever do, and yet He sent Jesus to die to save you. Then He rose again!
Take a few minutes to listen to the words of this song:
How can we combat fear?
The best way to combat fear is to immerse ourselves in the truth. “Fear Not” is one of the most repeated commands in the Bible. Look back at 2nd Timothy 1:7. If God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, what has He given us?
Spirit of power: As followers of Christ, we walk not in our own power, but in God’s power. Romans 8:11 says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Christians really have a huge advantage — we need not fear death!
Spirit of love: This time in our country is an excellent opportunity to both give and receive love. At the end of Romans 8, Paul says “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation [no, not even COVID-19], will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:38-39)
A spirit of a sound mind: Yes, wash your hands…it’s probably not your birthday, so use the time to pray instead! Ask questions and think for yourself. Be quick to help those around you, and even if you can’t go to church, be the church! And remember, do not fear!
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 43:10)
At this fearful time in our nation and in our world, we as followers of Christ must continue to walk forward in faith — not fear — into the destiny He has prepared for us. By doing this we will be a shining light in a dark place as we serve those around us and boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ!